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Paisley MSP helps in campaign to tackle Student Drop-Out Rates

George out and about in PaisleyGeorge Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, has recently lent his support to tackle the problem of students having to drop-out of university.

In supporting the ‘Fair Share, Fair Access’, which is being led by the Paisley Student President Garry Quigley, George has personally written to the Scottish Funding to help divert resources into helping to understand why students have to leave university early before achieving a degree.

George said, “The Scottish Government is committed to helping the most disadvantaged students in society, which is why in our Post-16 legislation we have secured a minimum income of £7,000 per year for the poorest students. This will go a long way in helping ease the financial woes of some students.”

To provide further help the campaign, Mr Adam has personally written to the Scottish Funding Council to ask them to consider the proposals outlined by the UWS Student President, that a national research project should be set-up that would seek to understand the reasons of why students drop-out.

“I was more than happy to lend my support to this campaign and to write to the Funding Council to ask them to consider setting-up a research project that would look into student retention. Having students dropping-out of university doesn’t benefit anyone, therefore, in order to uncover solutions to this problem, it is equally important that we understand the reason why students drop-out.”

Garry Quigley, UWS Student President added, “I was delighted that Mr Adam was able to lend us his support in our ‘Fair Share, Fare Access’ campaign. It is time that society tries to understand the problem of student dropping-out of university life. A recent report has discovered that 30% of those who drop-out of university cannot find any sort of employment afterwards. This creates many problems for society as a whole and its time that we took action to address it. The lobbying that Mr Adam has recently done for us will go along away in helping eradicate the problem of students leaving university early.”

Report looking into student retention

16 and 17 year olds should have the right to vote, says George

George next to Paisley's River CartGeorge Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, today [26/01/12] spoke on the issue of 16 and 17 year olds getting the right to vote. Speaking during Themed Questions on Education and Lifelong Learning, George made the point that if 16 and 17 year old are being taught about civic Scotland, then they should be allowed to take part in it and get the chance to vote.

After the themed questions, George said, “I make no apologies for putting my long held belief forward that 16 and 17 year olds should get to vote. While Labour, Tory and Lib Dem MSPs and indeed MPs chose to talk down this belief, I must remind them that in the not so distant past, many of them have signed up to and supported the campaign, Vote16.

‘Debate will rage over the independence referendum over the coming months and years, but the date is set; it’s starting. So instead of scaremongering, I call upon anti-independence politicians to take some of their own advice and work with the Scottish Government in lowering the voting age to 16. Many of them have supported it in the past; why do they not seem to support it now?

‘I would like to challenge Paisley, indeed, Scotland’s young people, to get involved in the referendum consultation: Your Scotland, Your Referendum, and make your views heard. I believe that 16 and 17 years old should have the vote and if you do too, get involved and let your local politicians know. It’s your future; be part of better.

Link to Names of the Politicians who have supported the Vote16 campaign

Link to online consultation

Paisley’s MSP Welcomes Local Structure for Police and Fire Services

George outside Paisley AbbeyGeorge Adam, Paisley’s MSP, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill which will put local knowledge at the heart of delivering services in communities across Scotland.

The Bill will mean that Renfrewshire will have its own local commander and local authorities will agree local policing plans with the commander. Moving to a single police force will ensure the future of the force and the additional 1000 officers on the beat since the SNP came to power.

The Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Bill will see the establishing of “The Police Service of Scotland”. The current functions of fire and rescue authorities will transfer to the “Scottish Fire and Rescue Service” which will employ all staff from the current eight fire and rescue authorities to the new service.

George said:

“This announcement will see Scotland’s police continue to make our country’s communities, streets and neighbourhoods safer.

“Through a range of measures, including delivering on our election promise of 1000 extra police on Scotland’s streets, crime is at its lowest level since 1976.

“These necessary changes come on the back of potentially devastating Westminster cuts, however, we can and will do more with less, by focussing on a stronger connection between communities and their local police and fire and rescue services.

“The new structure of policing and fire services will see a local commander for every local authority area giving a real local point of contact and ensuring local priorities are decided by police and councillors working together.

“A single force is not unusual, countries including Denmark, Norway and New Zealand take this approach for a similar sized population. When the Tories and Lib Dems are slashing police numbers in England this approach will ensure that in Scotland we can continue to protect our communities properly.

“I welcome the proposals and hope now they have seen the proposals opposition parties will recognise that their fears and smears were ill placed. Scotland’s police force will be independent and answerable to local communities as well as to local MSPs.”

Notes:

These new bodies will have a commitment and focus on local knowledge by enabling greater powers for local authorities including:

POLICE
• Chief Constable must ensure adequate arrangements for the policing of each local authority area.
• Designated local commander for each local authority area.
• Local commanders subject to direction and control of the Chief Constable.
• Local authority can request reports and information on policing in the local area.
• Local Plan, agreed between local commander and local authority, setting out priorities, objectives and arrangement for policing in the local authority area.

FIRE and RESCUE
• Scottish Fire Rescue Services must ensure adequate arrangements for SFRS functions in each local authority area.
• Local Senior Officer to involve the local authority in setting priorities and objectives for that area and prepare a local fire and rescue plan for the authority’s agreement.
• Local authority powers to request reports and information on SFRS functions in the local area.

Full details can be found by clicking here

BAILLIE ADMITS NHS BLANKET CLAIMS ARE WRONG

George Adam MSPFALSE COMMENTS TALK NHS DOWN YET AGAIN

HEALTH WORKERS OWED AN APOLOGY

The SNP has called on Labour to apologise to health workers after Jackie Baillie admitted her claims that NHS patients had to share blankets in a Paisley hospital were wrong – weeks after the health board provided proof there was no truth in her accusations.

SNP MSP George Adam has written to Johann Lamont asking her to investigate Ms Baillie’s remarks and apologise to the staff of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for her health spokesperson’s false statements.

Ms Baillie made the allegations, despite NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde saying, when the matter “was raised a few weeks ago”, that they provided “proof that there was no truth in this claim”. She later admitted in a newspaper that they were wrong

Mr Adam, SNP MSP for Paisley and a Member of the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit Committee, said:

“To knowingly make incorrect claims in her conference speech beggars belief.

“She should be ashamed of herself for talking Scotland’s health service down yet again.

“Ms Baillie knew her allegations were wrong as NHS GGC had addressed them weeks before.

“I have written to Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, asking her to investigate these remarks and apologise to the staff of the Royal Alexandra for her health spokesperson’s false statements.

“Ms Baillie is a repeat offender in smearing Scotland’s NHS. It was only in December she tried to pass off “new figures” for infection rates as ones gathered under the SNP, when in fact they were collected in 2005/06, when Labour were last in power.

“And this follows her infamous “Winter Watch” campaign last year, which had nothing to do with improving the NHS, and everything to do with her finding new ways to talk down the NHS and its hard-working staff.

“She must explain why she made an assertion in her conference speech which had already been comprehensively rebutted by the Health Board several weeks before. This is not only disrespectful to our health professionals – it has caused alarm among patients and their families. Labour’s health spokesperson should instead be acknowledging the hard work and dedication of our NHS workforce.”

Notes:

1) In her speech to Labour conference at the weekend, Jackie Baillie stated that “In one hospital in Greater Glasgow and Clyde patients are even having to share blankets because of the cuts.”

2) However, responding to the blanket claims, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “This matter was raised with us a few weeks ago, and we were able to provide proof that there was no truth in this claim. Extra blankets are available in all our hospital as and when patients need them.”

3) Jackie Baillie herself “later admitted that the claim was wrong” http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/political-news/independent-carer-representative-to-sit-on-shadow-cabinet.1330830213

4) Link to story from Straight Statistics in January about Jackie Baillie passing off figures from 2006 as an attack on the SNP http://www.straightstatistics.org/article/superbug-data-trip-scottish-labour

5) Details of Jackie Baillie’s “Winter Watch” campaign – asking for patients and staff to report “any strains in the NHS” and then suggesting the information will be used by the Labour Party – can be found at http://www.scottishlabour.org.uk/winterwatch

Paisley Development Trust Welcomes George

Paisley Development Trust (PDT) has welcomed George Adam to their new offices on the high Street in Paisley, within the YMCA facilities. Meeting Brian McGuire, one of the directors of PDT, George got to know a bit more about the voluntary organisation. Formed in 2004 to facilitate community renewal through arts and culture, the PDT has organised numerous events promoting the town, the first of which was an exhibition to commemorate the 71 lives that were lost in the Glen Cinema Disaster in 1929.

Speaking on the visit, George said:

‘The PDT is a tremendous organisation with the interest of the town at its heart, which benefits everyone from the town. They have organised many events since their inception and they are currently working on the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697, researching and then creating an exhibition about the last mass execution of witches in Western Europe, which took place in Paisley.

‘This voluntary organisation is an example to all of us throughout Scotland with an interest in our local towns and cities, and how to ensure they remain vibrant parts of our community.’

PDT Website

George Shows his Appreciation for the Paisley Sorting Office

George Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, today [Tuesday 13th] visited the Royal Mail’s Paisley sorting office to see the effort being put in by local men and women to ensure cards and presents are delivered on time for Christmas.

George dropped by this morning to see the hard work going on behind the scenes.

Commenting afterwards, George said –

‘I was delighted to have the chance to pop into the Paisley sorting office which is currently delivering around of 78,000 pieces of mail per day.

‘The Paisley office works tirelessly at this time of year to deliver all our cards and parcels on time for the big day. I was greeted and shown around by the Transport Manager, Ashye Rafique, who gave me a very informative tour. Very interestingly, I was told of how the sorting office has redesigned its service to cope with the increased amount of parcels coming through the office as a result of the increased use of online shopping.

‘We only have to think back to this time last year, when Paisley was beset by snow and ice, to realise just what Royal Mail staff sometimes have to overcome to ensure our letters, cards and packages reach us and as the MSP for Paisley I want to place on record my appreciation for their first-rate work.

‘I would also like to remind Buddies that the recommended last day for 2nd class post is the 17th and for 1st class post, the 20th.”

George says ‘Let’s all be positive about Paisley’

George Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, has today commented on two recent articles in the Daily Record and Scotsman respectively.

George said, “Both of these articles have painted a very bleak picture of the Paisley High Street. Both included pictures of what the Scotsman called fake shops. While this is not a time to argue over who is right and who is wrong because we all want our High Street to thrive, I was disappointed by the negativity in both articles.

‘Not mentioned were the tireless efforts of the Renfrewshire Council, especially the Council leader Brian Lawson, who are constantly looking at ways to improve Paisley Town Centre. Groups like the Paisley Development Trust and Paisley.org day in, day out are trying to promote Paisley to attract all kinds of people.

‘While the Town Centre is clearly not as attractive to shoppers as it once was, events are happening to try and attract people into Paisley, who in turn maybe become aware of a shop they never knew was there. The massive success of the Christmas lights turn on, when 37,500 people were in the centre of Paisley may go some way to doing that.

‘To pick up on the so called ‘fake shops’, the use of these signs was a concerted and imaginative effort to try and attract shops to Paisley, and signs are that this may be working. If we look at the Piazza, this is a really success story, through good management and a varied mix of shops, Paisley Buddies seem to really enjoy using this once maligned resource.

‘Essentially, I challenge everyone in Paisley and beyond to be as positive about our town as possible, it may not be easy and there will always be some one trying to put Paisley down, but a positive approach and outlook to Paisley will hopefully change this town’s fortunes and encourage Buddies, shoppers and shops to come to our great and historic town.”

Link to the Scotsman Story

Link to the Daily Record Story

Paisley’s MSP Speaks for Looked after Children

George Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, spoke in a debate on looked after children recently in the Scottish Parliament. The debate centered on the ways in which the Scottish Parliament as a whole can work together to improve the lives of looked after children.

 George said, ‘On 31st October this year, Renfrewshire had 765 looked-after children, 321 of whom were in accommodation. It looks like we will face an on-going situation of looking for permanent families for 50 children at any given time. The problem is that it is difficult to get foster parents. No matter what local authorities do, it is difficult for them to get people involved in fostering. I believe that the best people to sell the idea of being a foster parent are foster parents, because they can tell others what they have gained from the experience.

 ‘Members of staff in Renfrewshire Council, who are ably led by the director of service, Peter MacLeod, are motivated to succeed in this area. In the first half of this year, the council managed to get 13 children adopted into a home—a significantly higher figure than the previous year.

 ‘One thing that has become clear is the tremendous work of people in social work departments across the country. They deal with difficult situations in their job and work with families to get the best for them. I am extremely pleased that we have had such an open debate, in which everyone has agreed that we have to deal with the situation.

 ‘It is important that we get this right and that we all take our role as corporate parents seriously. As corporate parents, we are not just the parents of our own flesh and blood, but the parents of every child in Scotland.  Much work has been completed, but we need to achieve much, much more. We all know the social benefits to our country of getting this right. If we do not, we will create future problems—and future debates—for ourselves. All strands of government can work together to ensure that we provide every child with a secure upbringing and a chance to prosper.”         

Link to George’s speech and a transcript of the whole debate

Official Opening of Paisley MSP’s Office.

The official opening of the office for Paisley’s MSP George Adam took place on Friday.  The office, which has been open for constituents for the past few months, received its official stamp of approval from the Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, along with one of George’s heroes Tony Fitzpatrick, the former St Mirren Captain and club legend.

Speaking on the opening, George said: ‘I was delighted that so many constituents and local groups turned up to the official opening of the constituency office, after all this is their office.  The doors have been open to constituents for a few months now but it was great to get Nicola and Tony along to ensure that as many people as possible know about the office, and where to come for their enquiries.

 ‘I have known Nicola for many years, indeed we were part of the same youth groups, and I was delighted that she was able to make the time to cut the ribbon for the office.

 ‘Tony is another person that has had a huge influence on me, we have known each other for a long period, primarily due to my support for St Mirren and Tony’s extremely high standing with the club.

 ‘I would like to thank all those that attended, and would remind everyone that my office door is always open, so please don’t hesitate to pay a visit to 4 Johnston Street.’

MSP Joins Movember, ‘Tony’ Style

MSP Joins Movember, ‘Tony’ Style

George Adam, Paisley’s Member of the Scottish Parliament, has put his charity promoting tactics where his mouth is, or rather on his top lip as he grows a moustache for Movember. Movember is a movement to promote mens’ health issues, specifically prostrate and testicular cancer.  During the month of November men around the world grow a moustache, sometimes sponsoring their facial hair growth to raise funds for health charities.

 Speaking on his Movember attempt, George said; ‘This is the first time that I have attempted to grow a moustache for Movember.  It is a great way to raise awareness and funds for health issues that affect many men.

 ‘I have also been spurned on by the top lip adornment which used to be sported by my St Mirren hero Tony Fitzpatrick, who is also joining in Movember this year.

 ‘I must pay tribute to Kenny Lang, a St Mirren Supporter, who came up with a team on the Movember website called ‘The Tony Fitzpatrick Tache Squad’ to encourage like minded people to take part in the event.

 ‘If anyone would like to donate to the Movember cause then you can go to the website http://uk.movember.com.  You can just give a donation to the charities involved or you can search for my name and sponsor my facial hair growth for the month.’